Crimewatch 2: ejection rejection

5th October 2012 – 5.38 pm

A devblog detailing Crimewatch 2 has been released, and I applaud its intent in making clearer what actions cause which flags, and what each flag means. This is a necessary change. I don't entirely agree that there are players who possess an 'inability or refusal to understand the rules', in that there are no clear rules to follow. I don't relish the idea of potentially losing ship after ship trying to work out what causes my ship to be flagged with certain conditions, sometimes invisibly, and how long these conditions last. This is sci-fi, and there is no reason why conditions caused by my actions shouldn't be obviously shown to me. Adding the flags to the HUD is the right step to take, as is showing the timer and adding information about the flag.

I do, however, object to one of the consequences, that of not being able to eject from your current ship simply by firing your weapons. Specifically, if you fly a strategic cruiser (T3) then being unable to eject when you know you are in a losing battle forces a loss of skill points (SP) on you. It has been pointed out that avoiding the SP loss was originally by design: 'Ejecting or self-destructing does prevent the penalty, giving players an incentive to abandon ship from time to time'. So why the change?

It has been suggested that preventing ejecting is to prevent an Orca from scooping a T3 after the pilot ejects, which is an issue with gate camps abusing certain game mechanics. But you don't prevent ships from being scooped by preventing pilots from ejecting. You prevent ships from being scooped by preventing ships from being scooped. Preventing pilots from ejecting may solve the problem of ships being scooped, but it does so by creating different problems for pilots who are not abusing the problem that's being fixed. It seems some thinking has gone awry at CCP. Rather than looking at the problem and fixing it directly, they've gone around the houses to make it more complex than it needs to be.

There is even a precedent that makes the problem of ship-scooping apparently simple to solve. Targeted ships cannot cloak. Targeted ships that are empty cannot be boarded. It seems an obvious step to extend it so that targeted ships that are empty cannot be scooped. It is the same game mechanic as is already implemented in similar circumstances, and so it is one that will be familiar to players. Moreover, it possibly simplifies Crimewatch 2 too. The image of actions to consequences shows that the sixty-second weapon flag which prevents ejecting from your current ship has other consequences. You cannot board another ship in space (unless boarding from a capsule), you cannot board another ship from a corp hangar (unless boarding from a capsule), and you cannot store your current ship in a corp hangar. Personally, it seems much simpler to me, and would involve less coding, to take out the exemptions in the parentheses.

Why not remove the consequence 'cannot eject from current ship', and make the other conditions apply even if you are in a pod? You still can't jump through a stargate, or dock in a station, or board another ship—in space or from a hangar—and if a targeted ship cannot be scooped then the problem of Orca abuse in gatecamps is gone. In fact, I would say this solution is preferable. If you eject to a pod you cannot board another ship as long as the flag is active, so you can't jump back in to the fight. And the ship that remains in space becomes more vulnerable, as it no longer has a capsuleer on board to power its defences, or apply the appropriate skills to the shields, armour, and hull. Rather than have the pilot try to last sixty seconds so they can eject, allowing them to eject at any point still has them removed from combat and means their ship will explode sooner.

Ejecting even has another benefit beyond avoiding SP loss. Consider a simple one-on-one engagement. With a properly configured overview, the pilots see each other's ships and little else, if anything. When one ship explodes, the target lock of the victor is automatically dropped, because the target no longer exists, and the ship disappears from the overview. It is replaced by a pod, which can be quickly targeted and held because the victor has anticipated the situation. However, if one pilot sees the fight is going badly and ejects early, the victor may be caught off-guard. The target lock is not broken, the warp disruption module is still active and cycling. The pod has a greater chance of escaping. Regardless of any petty shouts that you should have better reactions, or be more prepared, if a pilot is prevented from ejecting then their pod is at greater risk.

And it is a bogus argument that you should just stop shooting if you want to eject. Smaller PvP engagements often don't last that long, and certainly not much longer, and considering the uncertainty involved in them it is unreasonable to expect any pilot to know what the circumstances will be a minute in to the future. And medium engagements or larger will have T3s popped long before a minute after being targeted. On top of that, if you eject to a pod then you have no weapons to fire, so your weapons flag automatically gets dropped just as if you stop firing in the current ship, which means ejecting will have continue to have similar functionality to that in the proposed change.

It is also bogus to suggest that these are the risks to flying T3s, and that the risks should be accepted. I do accept the risks of flying T3s. When I have lost any of my T3s and failed to eject in time, I have not blamed my attackers for the loss of SP, neither have I blamed CCP; I've blamed myself for a lack of awareness and accepted it. When I have ejected too soon and handed my attackers a free, if dented, T3, I have not blamed my attackers for forcing me out of the ship, neither have I blamed CCP; I've blamed myself for a lack of awareness and accepted it. But if CCP stops me from ejecting when I realise the fight is lost, particularly when the combat changes dramatically after thirty seconds, then I will blame them for the loss of SP.

I accept the risks of flying T3. It is the risks that are being changed, not my acceptance of them. And they are changing as a result of an activity that has nothing to do with me. I am already frustrated enough by blanket restrictions being placed on my activities as a reaction to a problem that has nothing to do with me in the real world. I do not need the same frustrations being extended to my hobbies. If the problem is with scooping actively targeted ships, then prevent the scooping of actively targeted ships. Don't punish me as part of that.

  1. 19 Responses to “Crimewatch 2: ejection rejection”

  2. Reading through the comment thread, I find that:

    [Preventing ejection] is not just oddly intentional, it is very intentional. If we didn't want to penalise T3 death, we simply wouldn't have the skillpoint-loss mechanic in the first place.

    which is discouraging.

    Another player agrees:

    The point of the skill loss was to introduce the risk SP loss to flying T3's. If they took a long time to train I could see a justification for complaints on this one, but as it stands it takes less than a week to train a Level 5 in a subsystem skill.

    And Rixx thinks a fifteen-minute GCC timer is a long time to wait. It looks like we'll soon be waiting four days each time our ship blows up before we can be as effective again.

    My only solace currently is that every T3 pilot will be in the same position, which may foster a more wary approach to individual combat.

    By pjharvey on Oct 5, 2012

  3. I think you're on to something at the end there, this seems all about making it mean something to fly a T3. Certainly few ship classes have been as abused as they have and I think this is directly responsible for the change. You can still eject, but only if you don't engage. And while that may not be as comforting, against overwhelming odds it still saves skill points.

    This doesn't mean I agree with the change, but I guess I can see the point. Now losing a T3 means more, so maybe we'll see a little less of them being thrown around.

    By Rixx Javix on Oct 5, 2012

  4. Possibly, yes.

    But sneaking an intended change to T3s in to an update to Crimewatch is underhanded. If the change were introduced as part of balancing T3s, I would be more accepting of it.

    By pjharvey on Oct 5, 2012

  5. I need to check, but I think the ejection currently breaks target lock with the ship in question.

    I might be wrong, but if I'm not your (quite decent) suggestion doesn't work.

    By Doyce on Oct 5, 2012

  6. I don't see the skill point loss as a huge problem personally and I fly T3s a lot, in both PVP and PVE, mostly in lowsec but some wormhole as well. You lose one skill level in a random sub-system and it takes about 5 days to train back. A T3 is a powerful ship, there should be risks to how you use it. Now if the level 5 skill was like 30 days, then yeah, I would have a problem with that. But 5 days? Not a big deal

    I mean, do you really lose that many T3s that often that this is a big deal?

    By Ravenzfire on Oct 5, 2012

  7. Ejecting does not break the lock on the ship.

    As for the change, it's just sad there'll be much less chance of scooping a free T3.

    By Mick Straih on Oct 5, 2012

  8. I try not to lose any, Ravenzfire.

    Even so, this is a Crimewatch update, not a T3 re-balancing. Forcing SP loss on pilots should be outside of its remit. On top of that, there are other reasons for ejecting which will also get swept up in this change. It is ill-considered and unscrupulous.

    By pjharvey on Oct 5, 2012

  9. Unscrupulous usually means a lack of honesty.

    It seems to me that CCP has been very straightforward about this change: it's intentional, they meant for it to happen.

    Eve is complex enough that pulling on one string tugs somewhere else more often than it doesn't. I'm sorry, but to say "you shouldn't change t3s because this is supposed to be a Crimewatch change" sounds like "no touchbacks!" Changing one system affects other systems so often that it's more remarkable when there AREN'T ripple effects elsewhere in the game.

    By Doyce on Oct 5, 2012

  10. 'I'm here to talk about a significant change to the aggression system in EVE coming along in this winter's expansion.'

    The aggression system, not how T3 SP loss isn't working as intended.

    There is only one mention of ejecting within the devblog:

    'It is possible to be prevented from switching ships or ejecting (whilst in space) by your actions'

    There is no mention of skill points, or skill point loss, within the devblog. Asserting in the comment thread that the change affecting T3s is 'very intentional' certainly seems dishonest to me. And if it is 'very intentional' then it is not a ripple effect.

    Change T3 SP loss if you want, but be honest and upfront about it.

    By pjharvey on Oct 5, 2012

  11. I admit that in four plus years of playing Eve I've never ejected from a ship during a fight for any reason. So maybe I'm not the right person to ask.

    By Rixx Javix on Oct 5, 2012

  12. By the way it is still possible to steal a t3, you just stop aggroing at the last minute and cycle down weapons for 60s, then have the pilot eject.

    By Rixx Javix on Oct 5, 2012

  13. From the perspective of someone who flies T3's a lot and almost exclusively engages in small gang warfare (usually 2-3 pilots) this a fairly serious change. Without rehashing everything, I feel this will trend toward reducing the number of engagements and combat interactions. The intent to commit to any agression will mean that every engagement in a T3 will mean loss of both skill points and isk.

    I have to agree that if they really intended this from the start, then they both coded it incorrectly and incompetently, not to mention described it in an intentionally misleading and duplicitous manner. If it is a balance issue for the whole class of ships, then balance it as such.

    Meh, what do I know. Guess I will just quit fighting and go back to flying freighters...

    By Kename Fin on Oct 5, 2012

  14. As for an alliance for almost fly T3s exclusively it is serious change.

    We loose our T3s quite often and we fly them a lot. So now we will have to train skills and buy expensive ships again.

    This re-balance makes me think that flying T3s is not worth it anymore.

    By Chitsa Jason on Oct 6, 2012

  15. Heh, I was just thinking about the number of stupid, brick Drakes I could throw at people in lieu of T3's...

    By Kename Fin on Oct 6, 2012

  16. As wh space is lawless space, does the weapon flag even gets applied to the player? Also in 00 sec?

    By bob on Oct 8, 2012

  17. Yes. The second chart in the devblog shows that the weapons flag is applied consistently across high-sec, low-sec, and 'other-sec'.

    Quite why aggression needs to be monitored in lawless space is uncertain, beyond it being a way of forcing SP loss in T3 combat without explicitly stating this as the goal.

    By pjharvey on Oct 8, 2012

  18. For 2 years I avoided training all the subs to 5 for my Proteus, as I do tend to lose them from time to time even with the ejection option intact. Finally bit the bullet and trained them all up about 2 months ago, and now this. Bleh.

    By Gwydion Voleur on Oct 9, 2012

  19. Brilliant post, perfectly stated. Wish I had just linked yours instead of writing my own. o7

    By Rhavas on Dec 3, 2012

  1. 1 Trackback(s)

  2. Dec 4, 2012: Poetic Discourse: “It Was Never Intended”

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.